Bio-based polyamide engine cover

Mercedes-Benz has selected a bio-based polyamide for the engine cover of its A-Class.

Around 70% of the raw materials used to make the polyamide reinforced compound are derived from the castor plant Ricinus communis.

The engine cover will be used on turbo powered petrol versions of vehicle. With dimensions of 575 by 550mm, and operating in an environment that can reach temperatures more than 200°C, resistance to warpage and high dimensional stability are important. The engine cover needed to be both lightweight (1.3kg) and resist high dynamic loads.

The material called EcoPaXX Q-HGM24 has will deflect under a load 1.8 MPa load while heated to 200°C. The cover can survive continuous temperatures of 200°C, with short term peeks of 235°C. The compound contains glass fibre and mineral particulate reinforcement.

Kees Tintel, EcoPaXX business manager at DSM, said: "We launched EcoPaXX in 2009 to answer increasing market demand for high performance durable bio-based engineering plastics. This is the first time that EcoPaXX Q-HGM24 has been used for high volume mass-production.

"It combines superb mechanical properties with excellent chemical resistance. It also has the highest melting point of any bio-based aliphatic polyamide."

Justin Cunningham

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